Rest, Pause and Stop: Words that should bring peace not fear.
Rest, pause, and stop. All words that could potentially strike fear in someone who is avoiding dealing with various parts of their grief journey. I should know, I have been there. I was so adept at avoiding rest that I scheduled every part of my day with something so that every moment was filled with people, places and adventures. This meant that the only time I stopped was when I was sleeping; and even that wasn’t for very long.
Taking time to rest, to pause, to stop and embrace the quiet spaces in grief is difficult. It means acknowledging the loss of what you had in that relationship. It means acknowledging that you are now facing life alone. It means acknowledging that you have a new label as a widow. More than anything it means acknowledging that you cannot do this life alone, that you need your Heavenly Father more everyday.
For me, I viewed the quiet spaces and rest as an enemy in the beginning. Those spaces seemed scary because I wasn’t sure what to do. In the past I had quiet spaces and rest but I had someone by my side, someone to join me in those moments. Filling those spaces worked for a while, until I found myself burnt out, exhausted and emotionally drained. I felt numb, withdrawn and unable to sleep more than a couple of hours each night. Not a great place to find yourself in while working full time, trying to pick up the pieces of your life, making sure your daughter is processing the loss of her father and learning how to live as a single woman in her 40’s. Being in this place earned me a sabbatical from work. That word scared me because I knew it meant that I was being thrust into a place of rest and a place of quiet that I was unprepared to face. But my Heavenly Father was waiting patiently for me. He was already preparing a way for me to learn how to properly care for myself, my daughter and how to steward this new season where I found myself.
Enter rest, enter quiet, and enter an uncomfortable journey. The month-long sabbatical was unlike what I was expecting. I took time to sit, read my Bible, learn more about what it meant to be a widow, face the grief head on and do the hard work I had been avoiding. I took naps, I began to sleep at night, I began to go to the gym and work out with a friend, and I made space for rest and quiet. It was during this time that Psalm 23 really became real to me. I had read that chapter so many times because with just 6 verses it is easy to read and check off the list. Yet, during this time I found that when I read it I felt the journey it takes you on. It became a chapter that I visited often because it brought me peace, it brought me the promise of rest, and most importantly it showed me that my Heavenly Father was making provision for everything I needed for my journey before I even began the adventure.
Dear friend, as you read this I pray that you find comfort in knowing that you are not alone in your grief. You are not alone in your journey to embrace rest and the new found quiet spaces in your life. I pray that you have a community of people around you that support you, love you and help point you to your Heavenly Father daily.
I want to challenge you to take a moment, take a deep breath and then read these 6 verses slowly. Take the journey and feel the peace and rest awaiting you in those green pastures.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Psalm 23:1-6 ESV
Samantha Stewart values her unique sense of humor and vulnerability in her role. She finds value in helping widows and other women connect with others in their communities through laughter and deep love for God. Her desire is to remind everyone that they have a purpose and that they can create a ripple effect of encouragement and support throughout our communities.